Friday, February 27, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Very Busy Vita-Mix

It finally happened. After 11 years of almost daily use, our old Vita-Mix container began showing signs of wear (that time I accidentally left a stainless steel spoon in the blender and turned it on probably didn't help...but the spoon lost).

So we got a spiffy new one! The 5200 model we got has some nice new features -- new lid, new handle, BPA-free container, and it's quieter than our old one, too.

I've raved over and over about the Vita-Mix on my blog and in my books, but I hear what you're saying: "It's a blender, Jennifer. What on earth could make a flippin' blender so special that you would spend that much money for it?" (At least, that's what I think you're saying, because that's what I said to my husband when our old Vita-Mix first arrived.)

To give you some idea of why I love my Vita-Mix oooh so much, I present you with A Day in the Life of a Very Busy Vita-Mix:

Our busy blender's day begins at the crack of dawn with a smoothie for Hubby shmoo (his smoothies involve raw eggs, so I'm not even going into it).

7:00am: I'm finally awake and it's time for my morning smoothie.

My breakfast smoothie is almost always the same: 1/2 cup pomegranate juice, 1/2 cup hemp milk, 1 tbs. flaxseed (whole, no need to grind them first), a banana, 2/3 cup frozen blueberries, 1/3 cup frozen pineapple, and about 2/3 cup chopped organic frozen spinach.

A quick blend and the flaxseed and spinach disappear without a trace. I pour the smoothie into my travel cup, take a couple sips, and head for the gym. When I'm done working out the smoothie is waiting for me in the car, still cold.

10:00am: I whir up a batch of creamy Nacho Cheese for our afternoon out with friends. My mom reports that her regular blender never gets these vegan cheese sauces as creamy and smooth as mine.

5:00pm: It's time for dinner and one of my favorite Vita-Mix tricks: blending a portion of a vegetable soup and then stirring it back into the soup to make the soup "creamy" without using any cream.

This Indian Cabbage Soup is nice and spicy. I serve it with dahl and brown rice.

7:00pm: Dessert, our favorite! And here's something a regular blender really can't do: make sorbet. Tonight I go all-out and make Healthy Fruit Parfaits.

I start by bringing out the bins of frozen fruit I have in my freezer and washing a bowl of fresh (not frozen) blueberries. I blend frozen peaches with a bit of orange juice, using just enough liquid to get the blender going while keeping a thick consistency (I use the tamper to keep things moving). I put the peach sorbet in a bowl in the freezer for just a minute while I rinse out the container and blend frozen strawberries with a few pieces of frozen pineapple and just enough soymilk to get it going again.

I layer spoonfuls of peach sorbet, strawberry sorbet, and fresh blueberries in pretty parfait glasses garnished with slices of tangerine. Oooh, fancy shmancy! And no sugar!

08:00pm: After one last wash and rinse, our Vita-Mix is ready for a well-deserved rest. Good night, Vita-Mix! See you in the morning!


Heather J. Chin said...

Ooh, your smoothies, meals and desserts are so impressive! I want a vita-mix now!

** The Before/After photos are fantastic. Very dramatic! **

Question: do the homemade sorbets hurt your teeth in terms of coldness? Maybe my teeth are just exceptionally sensitive.

Jennifershmoo said...

Thanks, Heather! No, the sorbets don't hurt my teeth, but my teeth aren't usually sensitive to cold.

Tamara said...

Perfect timing on the post. I have been looking into getting a nice blender but I am having trouble deciding. I was looking at the Blendtec as well. Do you have any thoughts on the differences between the two?

drepublic said...

those things really are incredible. i worked at a coffee shop that had one, and for the six years i worked there, that ONE blender made about 30 smoothies/blended iced drinks a day without fail.

when i can afford one, i will consider my transition to adulthood complete.

deirdre said...

Coincidental timing. I am ready to make this purchase! I keep hoping for a Mother's Day special or a really really good coupon...

Laci said...

WOW 11 years, and did it last almost as if it were new? I am trying convince my mum that we need a vitamix (we have a 2-3 year old junkie small food processer) as I begin to get more in the kitchen. At first I din't know what the heck was so amazing about a very pricey blender but now that SO many bloggers (especially you!) and the company it's self has so much good advertising and raving comments about it's verstility and amazing blades of steel, I feel the need to get one. Thaks for sharing "a day in the life", I never really thought how often and convienient it would be to use one! Would you have to wash it throroughly by hand or in the dishwasher after every use, so you do you do that daily? Does shmoo ever have smoothies in the morning too? Recently I made Dreena Burton (from ED&BV)'s "drink your greens smothie" wich contained kale (yes, those helthy, somewhat bitter, dense leaves!) and bountiful sweet fruit and it was fantastic, just not as smooth as it could be from a vitamix! Anyways, I'm still pushing for the vitamix! ;)

penny said...

Yes, I have concluded that When I have a kitchen of my own, a good blender is a must. I use ours almost every day as well. Of course, it's not a vitamix (poor college students can't afford a vitamix) and it's not my kitchen, but someday... :)

penny said...

How much money are we talkn' for a vitamix, anyway? Or would it just scare me away? :)

joanmcct said...

Hi Jennifer, I am new to your blog. I too make smoothies similar to yours in my Vitamix every morning. Have you ever added things like Cacao, Maca, Blue Green Algae, etc.? I have those "Super Foods" almost every morning. They are great antioxidants. If you search David Wolfe on You Tube he talks all about them. He's a big Vita Mix user too!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>How much money are we talkn' for a vitamix, anyway? Or would it just scare me away? :)

If you follow the link in this post you'll see the different sets. I think the cheapest is around $450. !!

Jennifershmoo said...

>>11 years, and did it last almost as if it were new?

Yes! It still had a few good years in it, it was just starting to have a slightly clanky sound. Besides, the newer ones have some nice features our old one didn't.

>>Would you have to wash it throroughly by hand or in the dishwasher after every use, so you do you do that daily?

Oh, it's easy to clean: fill the container with some warm water and a single drop of dish soap, blend it on high for a few seconds and then rinse. Done!

>>Does shmoo ever have smoothies in the morning too?

Yes, although he didn't that morning. Here's a post where I show one of shmoo's smoothies:

Now he's really into "Emergen-C" vitamin packets and has been adding those to his smoothies.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>Have you ever added things like Cacao, Maca, Blue Green Algae, etc.?

Not really, I like sticking to my spinach. :-)

Jennifershmoo said...

>>I was looking at the Blendtec as well. Do you have any thoughts on the differences between the two?

I don't have any personal experience with the Blendtec, but I've heard it's also a good, strong blender. Here's one review from someone who has tried both:

They ended up sending the Blendtec back because it doesn't handle whole or frozen fruit as well because it doesn't have a tamper.

Zachary said...

So who inherited your old one?

Misty said...

I'm absolutely going to try the fruit sorbet. It looks fabulous. I just bought blueberries today! BTW - I have a BlendTec, and it handles frozen fruit beautifully. Great blog. If people are Costco members, they occasionally have both the VitaMix and the BlendTec there. It's usually a special week or weekend thing, but you can get them WAY cheaper than ordering online! You have to wait until they have them, but it's something to keep in mind.

Jennifershmoo said...

>>So who inherited your old one?

We gave it to one of our friends that we knew couldn't afford one but would get a lot of use out of it. Don't worry, I'll put you down to inherit this one in another 11 years, Zach. :-)

penny said...

Ouch! I just looked at the prices on the Vitamix link. If I start saving now, I may just be able to buy myself one as a birthday present in ten years! :)

Vegan Wife said...

I am soooooooooooo jealous you have a vitamix!! :)

I hope to be able to afford one at some point in my life lol.

Love your blog! Keep up the great work.

Unknown said...

I LOVE my vitamix and I dont use it nearly as often as you do. I even have the grain grinder blade too. Its been very hand and has paid for itself many times over.
I will admit to using the ma.gic for small quick jobs, but the vitamix wins hands down if I had to pick only one.
I'm jealous of the new model, but with twins on the way cannot begin to justify the expense as mini still works.

eilismaura said...

I think I have to check where my vita mix is - have had it for ages

Thanks for the inspiration!

slacker momma and savvy techie! said...

Two questions for you jennifer:
1. You are the second person that I heard from that uses spinach in the smoothies. What is the benefit? Is t just to cut down the natural sugar of the smoothie?
2. Does the Vitamix have the capability to grind really small quantities? I make coconut cilantro chutney often and the quantity is really small like a cup-ful. Your post sold me on the Vitamix, just this one question lingering.
Your help is most appreciated.

Jennifershmoo said...

Hi, slacker momma!

1. There's lots of in-depth information about the benefits of green smoothies and blended salads in "Eat To Live" and the book "Green for Life". Basically, blending breaks greens down more than we can with our teeth, making their nutrition more available/absorbable and making them easier to digest. Also, it's a nice way to get some vegetables at breakfast and you don't even taste them. :-) I also feel different when I eat a smoothie with some greens in it -- it's more filling, and I do feel it balances the fruit sugars and leaves me more satisfied.

2. If you do a lot of small quantities I would recommend purchasing the Deluxe model that comes with a compact container specifically designed for smaller batches. I find that the regular container will work for smaller recipes, but you do have to stop a few times to scrape down the sides. That compact container is probably the easiest way to go.

Have fun!

Erin said...

We've had a Vita-Mix for about eight years, but never fully used it until we switched to a vegan diet. It has been a HUGE blessing, especially when it comes to grinding my own wheat berries for flour. I have just found it to be the handiest kitchen tool around and the price (which gave me a heart attack when my husband proposed it) is well worth it. We have replaced the blade on our dry container twice (covered under warranty both times) and the company was super helpful and easy to work with. I would recommend every vegan kitchen have one, especially if you want to grind your own grains for baked goods, bread, etc. A grain mill alone is around $400 and the Vita-Mix does so much more!

Tip for you Vita-Mix users: Don't air dry the Vita-Mix upside down. Any water that may have made it into the blade assembly following washing will eventually cause your blade to seize up. Instead, dry it on it's side and NEVER use the dishwasher.

Unknown said...

I had one of these, but stopped using it because I felt it was not getting clean. I would run dishsoap in it, lemon water, etc but I could not get the film from flaxseed oil off of it.

How do you keep yours clean?

PS: I replaced mine with the Tribest system, and I feel I can really clean the containers and get the teeth clean because they come apart.

anna said...

Hi - I have a question. I am choosing between a:

Vita-Mix 1363 CIA Professional Countertop Blender ($499 on Amazon)

and a

Vita-Mix 1700 Turbo Blend 4500 Countertop Blender ($398.95 on Amazon).

The only difference I can tell is that one has a variable speed adjustment knob and one doesn't.

Could you please help recommend one or the other? I have all these Amazon gift certificates that I want to use up in order to buy this Vita-Mix.


Jennifershmoo said...

Hi Anna!

I would recommend the model with the adjustable speed knob, the 1363. That's the model we have, and it's often nice to have an adjustable speed knob to bring the speed up or down to get things moving if things are sticking at a certain speed. Also when you start at low, move the knob all the way up, and then hit high, it prevents the big spitting explosion of ingredients in the blender container that you get when going right from low to high or from off to high.

Hope that helps! Enjoy your VitaMix! You will love it!

Persistent Paralegal said...

I add a scoop of protein powder and use soy milk and I'm good to go. Fantastic!

lnwn said...

we used a vitamix at the vegetarian restaurant i used to work at and if we let it go on too long we would have soup instead of smoothies. that thing is no joke. i always wanted one but alas, cannot afford it! did you sell your old one, i would totally buy it.

Debyi said...

Don't you just love your Vitamix!!! I use mine everyday, usually multiple times. The peanut & almond butter that come out of it is to die for!! Your smoothie sounds delicious, I'll have to try it.

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Tricia the Rhino Lover said...

Your blog is amazing! I was waiting for a friend at the bookstore the other day and stumbled upon your book! I bought one for myself and one for my sister. Then, I went online and got us those lunchboxes you recommended. I'm so excited to get it and live a more waste-free lifestyle.

I have a vitamix as well. Have you made peanut butter? It's sooo good. I use it all the time too! :)

Unknown said...

You are not supposed to put the Vitamix Jar in the dishwasher. Its supposed be hand washed and blend with 3-4drops of soap and water.